Makes approx 2 cups (at least 8 servings)

1 lb (2 2/3 cups) canned or reconstituted chickpeas
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1½ to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon chopped onion
a dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 dashes salt
about 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
approx 3 Tablespoons water
sprig of parsley for garnish

Special equipment

Food processor


Combine all ingredients in the food processor and whirr until smooth. You may wish to add a little extra vegetable oil (olive oil is too strong to add disproportionately without overwhelming the other flavours) and water to smooth your hummus out if it seems dry, especially when you're using reconstituted chickpeas instead of the canned.


You can save a lot of money by purchasing dried chickpeas and reconstituting them at home instead of buying canned. The process is simple: soak 3 cups of dried chickpeas in three times as much water overnight at room temperature. Yes, they really will absorb that much water. The next day, rinse them. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt in 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, and add the chickpeas. Skim the froth, cover, and reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook for 50 minutes. Rinse. Cool before useing. Purists will then take an extra hour to shell the chickpeas (just running your fingers through them will loosen most of the husks), but I've yet to meet anyone who does. Makes 4½ pints, and freezes extremely well.

The soda hastens the cooking process, counteracting the effect of hard or acidic water, and the frequent rinsing reduces the, uh, gaseousness of legumes.

First served: Lughnasad 1995
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Last modified: © July 1995